V P purchased this Ford Fairmont used for $20,000 (including all on-road costs) in 2007. V P wouldn’t buy this car again because: “Thirsty car around town, there are better alternatives for a cheap and reliable second hand luxury sedan.”
Mechanically the car has been pretty reliable other than the common leaky power steering. It’s spent most of its early years as a commuter car for my mum and then it became the car for long trips. By the time we sold it, it had about 180,000kms on it and the only other issues were the dead subwoofer and other cosmetic things, like the bubbled up rear tint and gear selector surrounds (very common in the Falcons in general).
The overall experience can be described as trouble-free. Nothing really stood out for the car (other than the fact that the car survived the shenanigans during my P-plater days…being able to turn on and off traction control with the single click of a button was pretty handy).
The car has kept us pretty safe, although there weren’t any serious accidents involved in the car (we were only just rear-ended twice). With the Ghia alloys, the car really did look good after a clean and despite the Falcons being used as the common taxi, the design of the BA Ghia has aged very well.
I did always look on envy at the BF Ghia, the front lights and revised rear diffuser gave it a bit more of that upmarket character.
The price was reasonable for the time and the car had plenty of features that put some slightly newer luxury cars to shame. The automatic kerbside mirror dipping while reversing was pretty neat and assisted with keeping the rims rash free, and the factory reverse sensors were there to help.
The “premium” sound system, while lacking aux and BT input, was pretty decent in terms of quality until the subwoofer died. It also had memory seats which was useful since pretty much my whole family drove the car. The thing that probably stood out the most is the comfortable leather seats that were slightly plush compared to the firmer seats you get in something like a BMW 3 Series.
The Fairmont was at home on the highway. The naturally aspirated Barra had enough power for comfortable overtaking, while highway economy was not bad sitting around 6.5L/100km. In it’s last days, the car was just being used around town and fuel economy suffered greatly. In heavy stop/start traffic I was getting close to 15L/100km. Performance was adequate for a family car, nothing really sporty about the car other than the pleasant induction sound close to redline.
For the time, the tech in the car would’ve been considered pretty high end. Towards the end of its days, the centre colour screen that didn’t offer much info or functions really made the car feel a bit dated. The Fairmont came standard with traction control unlike the base Falcons and it worked reasonably well. It also came with dual-zone climate control which is really up there for the time. The 4 airbags probably don’t hold up too well in modern times.
When taking passengers in the Fairmont Ghia, many of them likened the smoothness of the ride to a plane trip. On the highway, this is one of the most comfortable cars you can get for the price. My mother only upgraded her car because she is a bit materialistic and her car was the oldest in the work parking lot.
However the upgrade (a 2011 Volvo S60 T6) wasn’t anywhere near as comfortable to drive, although some of that can be put down to the Volvo’s slightly more sportier aspirations. The Fairmont was no corner carver but it was balanced for comfort without rolling over too much like a boat.